Hike 62
The Mt. Hood National Forest
Wildcat Mountain via McIntyre Ridge Hike
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THE FOLLOWING MAP IS NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATIONAL PURPOSES.
Map of the McIntyre Ridge, Wildcat Mountain Hike

Length: 10.5 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 1530' gain
Season: Late Spring thru Fall
Difficulty:   Challenging
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required

Features:

Here is another example of a really super hike that doesn't get good press. Again, the locals have not been good to this hiking area, but you should not let this keep you from enjoying of the Salmon Huckleberry's best hikes.

The parking area at the end of Wildcat Creek Road leaves a lot to be desired. Lots of munition casings and broken glass. So, there is safety in numbers. You might not want to leave your vehicle overnight. I've never had a problem on day hikes. After you park, you will walk up a 4 wheeler road for just a bit before the trail actually begins. It is as you enter the forested area to the southeast of where you park that the hike truly begins.

Almost immediately you come to the sign announcing your entrance into the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness. The trail climbs a bit then drops a bit as you hike through Rhododendron lined paths. For the first half mile you have breaks in the timber where you can see out to views of Mt Hood. Then the next mile and a half is pretty much in dense forest, and the trail climbs rather steeply for a portion of this section. About two miles into the hike you come to the first significant viewpoint. This makes a fine destination in itself, and the photo opts are excellent.

The trail then re-enters the dense forest and remains that way as you climb one of the steepest parts of the hike. In about three quarters of a mile you'll come out into a beargrass ladened meadow with an obscure path to your left that used to take you to a fine viewpoint, but it has pretty much been overgrown now.

The trail now looses a bit of elevation and you continue to hike mostly in forested surroundings. Another mile later you will come out into the open and enjoy some of the best views of the hike. You'll climb a little bit to a summit that affords you spectacular views. The floral displays are great in season.

The trail drops off this little summit and passes a newly install bench dedicated to an individual who loved hiking. The view from the bench is as good as it gets. The trail continues down a bit, then gently climbs back into the forest. After you climb over the shoulder of the next mound, you descend a bit then walk through another Rhododendron line pathway. The trail does climb a bit before you intersect Trail #781, which you will follow to your left.

You will come to another sign announcing your entrance into the Wilderness. This is for the hikers who begin their hike on Trail #781. Now the trail becomes steeper. You are literally climbing Wildcat Mountain. The trail climbs along the northern edge of the mountain, so you are afforded outstanding views from time to time. You will be able to see Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, Mt Adams, and of course Mt Hood. At about a half mile, you'll need to look for the cutoff trail that takes you to the actual summit of Wildcat Mtn. This is a very short steep climb and then you are on top. The summit used to have a fire lookout. The trees have now grown quite tall and to get great views you need to walk through the dense brush to the south of the summit for views of Mt Jefferson and the headwaters of Eagle Creek. From the summit you'll need to walk northeast through the dense brush to enjoy spectacular views of the mountains to the north, and of course Mt Hood.




Mt. Hood as seen from the Wilcat Mountain trail
How to get there:

Follow US Highway 26 east of Sandy for about 10.5 miles. Turn right on Wildcat Creek Road, just past the gas station next to the Shamrock Motel. Stay on the graveled road for about 1.5 miles, when you need to bear left at a "Y" in the road. Bear left again at the next "Y", but bear right at the final junction. The road ends in a wide parking area. It is prone to vandalism.

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A Virtual Hike of the Mount Hood National Forest


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